Are you tired like N-dog here, of constantly finding yourself stressed out while standing in the grocery store, not knowing what you`re going to have for dinner? Do you want to save more money on food? Are you tired of eating industrial, un-healthy food? Then keep on reading!
So.. this is embarrassing, but a couple of years ago, when BF and I moved in together, we both lived in small spaced dorms and shared kitchen with a lot of random (and
semi-crazy) people, so we didn`t like to spend much time in the common room, which means that we didn`t think about how much money we wasted on food. We went to expensive grocery stores because it was more convenient, we bought easy expensive industrial food, and shopped every day. Neither of us thought about how much we were really spending.
But then we moved into a house together and I started paying attention to what I ate due to my Fibromyalgia. That was 3 years ago, and I`ve had a steep learning curve and saved so much money! Approximately $5300 a year! That`s A LOT of money. We used to spend more about $900(!!) on food a month. I know, I know, but I did warn you, it was not my finest hour.
Now we`re spending about $450 a month. I guess that many of you are now thinking that $450 is still high, but unless you`ve ever visited Norway and seen how incredibly expensive it is, you have no say. Food is rediculously expensive. Here are some examples to give you an idea how the cost levels; a loaf of bread costs $7, 0.2 gallon of milk costs $2.50, 12 eggs cost $7.50. By following the things I´ve mentioned here, we are saving over $5000 a year on groceries!
The way we save so much money on food is this:
Meal Plan – There really isn`t any excuse not to meal plan. Use the internet, cook books, your imagination, your hunger, and set aside 30 minutes in the weekend to decide next week`s meals. I do weekly meal plans, this way it doesn´t get too overwhelming, and we manage to do all our shopping in one turn (we don´t have a car, so we have to carry all our groceries… AND we live on top of a hill…). Keep a notebook where you write down all the meals, and after a while you`ve got an easy go-to list when making meal plans!
Use what you already have– Like I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, remember to use what you´ve already got in the cupboards. If you find yourself holding a random ingredient and don`t know what to make of it, there are several recipe making websites that can help you, such as Super Cook where you add your ingredients one by one, and it generates various recipes based on your ingredients.
Basic Kitchen Skills – If you don`t know how to cook, this is the time. Use the internet, your mom, or friends that know how, and learn some basic kitchen skills, because I can promise you, it`ll save you money, like, loads of money. AND it`s also much healthier to cook from scratch, as the food you make won`t contain random additives or unneccessary amounts of salt, sugar and fat. You get to be the boss of the ingredients! Wouldn`t it be nice to be able to bake pita breads, sandwich breads, dinner rolls, or make lovely pasta sauces, stews or even sunday dinners?
Freezer – To maximize your savings, you really need some freezer space. We have a big freezer that we actually got as a housewarming gift from BF´s parents, but we were thinking of buying one anyway, as it would have be a good investment. With a freezer you can freeze down portion sized food that can easily be defrosted and heated up again, all types of breads, berries, left overs, and so on.
Buy in Bulk – If you come across a non-perishable food item on sale that you use a lot anyway, buy in bulk, and always buy big economy sized items if it`s possible to separate and freeze down.
Generic Brands – There`s no need to spend extra money on a certain brand when the ingredients are the same. I always chose the grocery store`s brand, which is about 1/3 of the fancy brand. This applies to toilet paper, cotton pads, hand soap and such also.